Les UDs are about to visit…

… ‘D.C.’s new must-see art museum.’ Glenstone.

They’ve got some Cy Twombly sculptures. UD loves Cy Twombly.

Roland Barthes on Twombly.

Profuse and perverted sex and money should bring out the writer in all of us…

… but only Margaret Carlson, so far, has really distinguished herself in this line. Her column in The Daily Beast is inspired.

A B-story involving the two famous lawyers on the case emerged on Thursday after attorney Alan Dershowitz, who’s worked for Epstein, boasted of his “perfect, perfect sex life” on Laura Ingraham’s Fox show. Dershowitz is furious that his ties to Epstein have been characterized by opposing attorney David Boies as going beyond parsing the rules of criminal procedure. Like a schoolboy, Dershowitz challenged Boies to a sex duel: to swear under oath that he’s only had sex with one woman during the same period. 

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Well but if you ask UD fiction is truth; you can’t approach an understanding of Ghislaine Maxwell without understanding, say, Madame Merle and Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil — two characters with whom Maxwell herself, with her high-level literary education (“I was drip-fed Shakespeare at Oxford,” she told a party reporter at the launch of book on Richard III by a Hollywood mega-lawyer in the late ’90s. “Just sniffing fresh ink gets me high.”), would be fully familiar. Naturally everyone’s citing The Great Gatsby in connection with Epstein — the identity is so strong that one assumes Epstein with some degree of self-awareness fashioned himself after Fitzgerald’s creation – and of course he called his notorious jet The Lolita Express. It’s not just that we reach for the deeper truths of the best literature in order to grasp the cruelties of human beings; some cruel human beings come to know and have confidence in their way of being in part through the discovery of literary models.

All of which is why the genius of Carlson’s little essay lies in her framing the entire Trump/Dershowitz/Epstein story as fiction. Not merely the Dershowitz B-story, but Trump’s “racist political thriller… a plot twist… Celebrity Racist The Jeffrey Epstein ShowBillions meets Stranger Things meets Empire … The show is now on location in the Southern District of New York where former  U.S. Attorney and recent Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, was dropped from the cast … Trump Trilogy… ” How really to understand Dershowitz (not to mention Trump) without revisiting the by-now fully fictionalized (for we know him through his engrossing, dominant role in Angels in America) Roy Cohn? Cohn “worked with a three-dimensional strategy, which was: 1. Never settle, never surrender. 2. Counter-attack, counter-sue immediately. 3. No matter what happens, no matter how deeply into the muck you get, claim victory and never admit defeat.”

This, that, and the other

Whoever among Ireland’s playwrights has inherited a gift closest to Samuel Beckett’s will find spectacular dialogue for her own Worstward Ho in a recent interview with an Irishwoman who joined ISIS in order to “fulfill her dream of living under Sharia law.” Read the following, if you can, with an artist’s eye.

We were in the taxi, he [her new husband] said, “When you go up here at the roundabout, close your eyes. There’s a man like this on the cross on the roundabout and his eyes are gouged out and he’s wearing a red suit and you don’t want to see it.” …

Life was like back home [in Ireland]. Just like back home. You get up in the morning, go shopping, get your stuff, come home, cook your dinner, clean your house. It’s just like my everyday life. Go visit a friend, drink some coffee.

This is what we came for, you know. We came for, like, no alcohol… no prostitution, no gays, no anything… And, for me, I really liked to live in the Islamic State because I never got to see any of this. I just had to experience a lot of bombing and this, that and the other, and hearing someone died and hearing this and hearing that but I didn’t have to see any of that.

You’re not gonna tell ol’ UD that this is not pure theatrical gold.

“Louisville hush money for my young gunners. / Rick Pitino, I take them to strip clubs and casinos.”

Pitino rapped.







Results: Yesterday’s London Auction of Two of Our …

Fangors.







After great pain, a …

formal sculpture comes.

Purdue sits ceremonious, a tomb –-

Beyond whose rich and gilded door

Lie dead and dying customers — a score







With the lilt of my beloved Lezhneva in my ears…

UD catches sight, for the hundredth thrilling time, of the New York skyline from her Northeast Regional.

She’s spending three days in Boston. Blogging continues throughout.

Viva Lezhneva.







‘It’s safe to say Young Dolph’s music isn’t the best setting [for] a coffee shop…’

Hot New Hiphop notes the incompatibility between lyrics like

I showed her a Xanax, she hurried up and took
I fucked her so good, she got up and started cooking
Rolling up big blunts, out a pound of cookies
If you ain’t got 40 bands, then you can’t book me
Pulled up on the side of your bitch, she wouldn’t stop looking
That bitch good as tooken, good as gone
I guarantee tonight my nigga, that bitch ain’t coming home
I got money to count, I got bitches to fuck
I got packs to flip, pistols to bust

and a public cafe.

One of Duke University’s cafes was playing this song for its customers when a vp of student life walked in, got wind of the pistols bitches and niggas, and took it up with an employee. The woman apologized and turned off the music, but the vp was really pissed and called the store’s management, which fired the woman and another guy who was also working the counter while the Xanax and the fucking so good wafted o’er the air.

The vp says he did not ask for them to be fired; he didn’t apparently ask for anything except for management to note that children and other non-violent, non-misogynistic people enter Duke’s establishment. The firing was management’s call.

UD doesn’t think the workers should have been fired. She does think that the cultural centrality of hiphop – like UD, I’m sure you’ve heard lyrics worse than these in public establishments – makes these incidents inevitable, and that universities need to think about whether this music is a good look for them.

***************

UD thanks dmf.

****************

UPDATE:

I’ve been in public places with young kids around and thought, yikes, that song is a lot. I certainly wouldn’t go babysit for friends and throw on Dr. Dre with their 4 year-old. But even if you think the standards should change, the approach of calling out random people helplessly embedded in profane U.S. culture, as if upbraiding them is a righteous project, is not the way forward…

UD (see above) agrees; and yet think of that phrase: helplessly embedded… Really? Does that mean no one employed in a public setting has the capacity/responsibility to reject disgusting lyrics? Are we all helplessly embedded?

***************

Another Update: The shop owner has now apologized for firing the employees. Good move.

The story is going national, which is also good. Attention must eventually be paid to the matter of – quoting from the article above – our helplessness relative to vile lyrics in public spaces.







How UD’s Mother, and her Mentor, Wilhelmina Jashemski, Would have Loved This.

They did more than excavate ancient gardens together; they loved to explore ancient mosaics. This newly discovered site is amazing.







Fantastic photograph…

… of rotting housing within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

More here.







Simulacro

O dio! Something’s fahny
With my Modigliani.
Mio santo Amedeo –
They’re stripping off his halo
And I want back my mahny.







Balthusian Catastrophe

The effort to throw out the Balthus
Is warming the ghost of Sir Malthus:
“Our art’s overbreeding.
Too much painting needs feeding.
You empty the too-crowded salle thus.”







Updated Exhibit to Feature Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gaddhafi…

… Timothy McVeigh, and Nicolae Ceausescu.







France Secures its Title as the Most Literate, Cultured Country in the World.

… Penelope Fillon [wife of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon] was paid about €5,000 a month between May 2012 and December 2013 by a literary review owned by a billionaire businessman friend of Fillon. The editor said he had never seen her at the magazine and only knew of two short book reviews she wrote in that time, published under a pseudonym.

A year and a half worth of employment at 5,000 euros a month for writing two short book reviews. These people truly value the arts.







One of UD’s little claims to fame is that…

… she was in the last cohort of tourists to see the actual Lascaux caves. Her family was on its way to England, where her father had a fellowship at London’s National Institute for Medical Research, and among the places they visited were the caves full of paleolithic drawings of animals (and a few people).

The press of people wanting to see the caves began destroying the paintings, so in 1963 the original caves were closed to the public, and a series of nearby replicas were created. The latest replica, just opened, is the biggest and the best.







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